Save Money and Energy This Winter With These Tips
Heating and cooling make up more than 50 percent of the average home’s utility expenses, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports. If you’re dreading turning up the heat this winter because of the spike to your monthly electric bill, save money and energy this winter with these tips.
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit will reveal where your home is losing energy and what you can do to mitigate this loss. You can do this yourself or hire a professional, who will show you how you can save money and energy this winter with these tips:
- Inspect insulation – Inspect insulation in the attic to make sure it’s deep enough for the current minimum standards, as determined with the DOE’s zip code insulation calculator. Inspect insulation in walls by removing electric outlet covers to see if there is visible insulation. Other places to inspect insulation include basements, crawl spaces, garages and utility closets. Add insulation where needed.
- Inspect for air leaks – Inspect for air leaks around door and window frames, inside and outside light fixtures, dryer and oven vents and any other areas in the home that have openings, gaps or cracks. Seal cracks with caulk or foam sealants and other weatherproofing materials.
- Inspect heating equipment – Inspect filters, sheet metal, coils and vents on furnaces and other types of heating equipment. Perform regular maintenance and make sure equipment is free of clutter that blocks vents, motors and compressors and may be a fire hazard.
- Review utility bills – Read through three to five years of past utility bills, looking for times when use was at its peak. Ask your utility company if they provide energy saving audits or any other resources for saving energy and reducing your heating bill.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat sets your heat lower automatically, so the heating equipment doesn’t run when you’re sleeping or away from home. The DOE says that lowering the heat by seven to 10 degrees can save up to 10 percent a year on heating costs.
Adjust Blinds and Curtains
Use blinds and curtains to reduce or prevent heat loss in winter and save money on heating bills. Curtains that are installed as close to the window as possible and are covered at the top with cornices or other treatments prevent heat loss.
Check Out Different Energy Plans
If you live in an area with more than one electricity provider, there may be a cheaper energy plan in your area than the one you’re currently on. Visit energysavings.com to compare plan and learn about options like fixed rate plans, variable rate plans, indexed rate plans, green energy products, prepaid plans and time-of-use plans.
As always, Warner Robins real estate information is provided as a courtesy by Anita Clark, your Warner Robins Real Estate Specialist, (478) 960-8055.